7 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Home Inspector

Hiring a home inspector is a vital step when shopping for a home, and the purchase should never be made without an inspector’s services. Whether the type of domicile being purchased is a house or a condo, it’s important to know beforehand the state of the property. Indeed, property management companies in Toronto recommend home inspectors for all condominium purchases.

Home inspectors examine all aspects of a dwelling and make a determination on its overall fitness. They will look at various systems such as structural, electrical and plumbing, and report back on any necessary repairs, or the likelihood of repairs being required in the future.

Despite the obvious advantages, an alarming number of people are eschewing home inspections. Due to bidding wars and eagerness to close sales, only 3,000 of 10,000 homes sold in Ontario in July 2016 were inspected. And in Vancouver, only 10 percent were inspected. It’s an alarming downward trend that can leave new homeowners responsible for repairs they were unaware of.

So what should you look for when hiring a home inspector? As the industry is largely self-regulating, it can be a challenge to know what factors to consider. ICC® Property Management has outlined seven factors you should consider before hiring a home inspector.

Professional Certification

In Canada, only two provinces – British Columbia and Alberta – require home inspectors to be licensed. A third – Ontario – is planning similar legislation for later in 2016. The reality is, in areas outside of these jurisdictions, anyone can operate as a home inspector.

Despite the lack of licensing requirements, there are professional associations in Canada that serve to set standards of conduct. Bodies such as the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors incorporate a code of ethics and standards of practice designed to protect those hiring a home inspector.

Therefore, hiring an inspector accredited by a professional association makes good sense.


Ask your home inspector what type of training they have received. As most provinces don’t have licensing standards, it’s important to know in advance the level of education the inspector has achieved.

There are many dedicated home inspection training programs out there, and a successful completion would tend to indicate the inspector possesses at least a baseline knowledge of the necessary skills.



It’s a good idea to get a sense of the overall experience level of the home inspector you are thinking of hiring. The longer the inspector has been in business, the more knowledge they are likely to have.

That knowledge can be important, as dwellings of different types will frequently have vastly differing construction styles. For example, the experienced home inspector will be expected to take factors into account such as:

  • Varying methods of construction
  • Age and weather-related issues
  • Building codes from different eras
  • Tendencies related to particular types of dwellings
  • Knowledge of both single unit and multi-unit dwellings

Having an extensive knowledge base allows the home inspector to quickly and efficiently identify potential problems. In the case of condominiums, for instance, property management companies can frequently recommend knowledgeable inspectors.

Written Contract

A reputable home inspector will offer a written contract before inspecting the dwelling. This helps to protect the consumer from fraudulent or unsavoury inspection practices, as it spells out in advance exactly what role the inspector will fulfil.

It’s vital that you read this document, as it will clearly spell out what the inspector’s area of responsibility is. It will explain what he or she will or won’t examine, and also serves to outline the extent of liability the inspector will incur should anything go wrong.


While there is no requirement to do so, some home inspectors will carry what is called errors and omissions insurance. In the event that the inspection was either faulty or fraudulent, this type of insurance can, in many cases, protect the buyer from liability.

For example, if a home inspector claimed there were no outstanding issues prior to purchasing a home, only to have longstanding problems arise, the homeowner can make a claim to recover a portion of the damage costs.

Hiring an inspector who carries this type of insurance helps to bring peace of mind to the home buying process.

Include The Client

A good home inspector will invite the client along when he or she conducts the inspection. This is important for two reasons.

First, it demonstrates the breadth and scope of knowledge possessed by the inspector. It also shows that they are not hiding anything, and the resulting report is much less likely to be fraudulent or faulty.

Second, it provides the inspector with an opportunity to educate the client about any current or potential issues. By engaging in these teaching moments, the inspector can answer questions and ensure the client understands what they are potentially getting into.

Continuing Education

Operating in a constantly-evolving industry, it’s a fair question to ask a potential home inspector hire what degree of continuing education they avail themselves to.

Home inspectors will often consider themselves generalists, being knowledgeable across a wide variety of topics. However, as many factors related to home construction are always changing, it’s incumbent upon the inspector to be constantly evolving with it. Some of the factors that change over time include:

  • Construction methods
  • Building codes
  • Fire, plumbing, and electrical codes
  • Building materials
  • Municipal regulations

To that end, a home inspector who continually tops up his or her knowledge would be an enormous asset to have.

Having an experienced, knowledgeable and reputable home inspector can make an enormous difference to the future enjoyment of your home. Despite the downward trend in hiring these professionals, there’s no better way to help protect your investment.

Property management companies are an excellent source of knowledgeable home inspectors. When you are planning to make a home purchase, don’t open yourself up to potential problems. Contact us and let us help you to secure your investment so you can enjoy the best that your home has to offer.

ICC Property Management

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